I’m writing this from a hotel room in Nashville, Tennessee, because it’s the only place I’ve found a few spare minutes to sit and write. After a seemingly slow summer, everything revved up just in time for the season to turn. You know the saying, “March comes in like lion and out like a lamb?” This month has come in like a lion and is going out the same way. I am so tired.
I wrote the above intro over a month ago before some big interruptions to my focus and to my time. But I’m determined to keep up with these seasonal updates because I enjoy looking back at them. So, summer 2023. Where were we?
A Weird thing that happened
After a successful weekend of yard work, I spent the first day of summer with poison ivy (Oak? Sumac? Something else? We still don’t know.) slowly taking over my body. I noticed an itchy rash on my lower back as I prepped to leave for a work trip. By the next day, the patch on my back was larger and I noticed spots appearing on my forearm. Then my stomach and my ear. Then my hip, my leg, and finally my chest. When new spots continued to pop up nearly a week later (and two weeks after exposure), I finally went to see the doctor. The discomfort went away pretty quickly after I started taking some medication, but it remains a rather odd unsolved mystery.
Places we traveled
This was a busy season for travel, with a work trip for me and three personal trips. At the end of June, Brandon and I flew to Colorado for our first trip together, just the two of us, this year. The purpose of the trip was to see one of our favorite bands, The Head and the Heart, at Red Rocks Amphitheatre. We also spent time exploring Frisco and Georgetown and drove up to Greeley to visit the Greeley Stampede. We even took a ride on the Georgetown Loop Railroad. There’s so much more we want to see and do in Colorado. I hope we can make an annual visit in the future!
In August we made a very quick overnight trip to Norfolk, Virginia, for our Global Entry interviews. Since we hope to do more international travel in the coming years, Global Entry felt like a good idea—and it also includes TSA Pre-Check. Interviewing in Charlotte would have been more convenient for us, but their books were full and I was in a rush to get everything in place before a trip abroad in the fall. Hilariously, our TSA Pre-Check hasn’t worked for five (!!!) different flights since being approved, but we’re told they’re “working on it.”
September was the start of a busy, fun, and exhausting month of travel with two trips technically falling during summer and one during the fall. We kicked off the month by driving to Chattanooga, Tennessee, to attend Moon River Music Festival. We went for the first time in 2018 and knew we wouldn’t be back until after 50 in 5 was finished. With one of our favorite bands, Caamp, set to headline alongside Hozier we knew this was the year to return. Caamp unfortunately dropped out of the festival at the last minute, but another favorite group, NEEDTOBREATHE, took their place. We had a great time this year and have our fingers crossed that Noah Kahan will headline in 2024. I already booked a hotel room just in case.
Soon after Moon River, we flew to New York for a very special trip. Brandon has loved Death Cab for Cutie and The Postal Service since high school, and when they announced a co-headlining tour nearly a year in advance I snatched up two tickets for Madison Square Garden—one of my bucket list concert venues—since they weren’t touring in the south at all. As we got closer to September 2023 I added in more fun things for our time in the city.
We saw two Broadway shows, “Purlie Victorious” and “Wicked,” visited the MET, and explored several new-to-us neighborhoods and parks. One morning we stumbled upon the annual African American Day Parade in Harlem, then spent a beautiful afternoon in Central Park. I tried and failed to get a reservation at Don Angie, but when we showed up at opening and put our name on the list to sit at the bar (at least an hour wait, we were told), someone canceled and we were seated at a table within 15 minutes. What incredible luck! Don Angie was my favorite meal of the year by far. I’m getting ahead of myself for the “things we ate” section of this blog post!
The concert was on our last night in town and was just as good as we expected. Brandon was thrilled to be around “his people”—elder Millennials who still love good emo music.
A follow up to my “funny TSA story” in the Farewell, spring 2023 post: I found my missing hairbrush in my suitcase while packing for NYC. Oops.
Books I read
I read three books over the summer: “The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo,” “Educated,” and “The Last Thing He Told Me.” “Educated,” in particular, is a great read. I couldn’t put it down!
Good music we heard live
In addition to the music festival and concerts in Colorado and New York, we also caught a great throwback show in Charlotte: Yellowcard with Mayday Parade and Story of the Year. This was my anniversary gift to Brandon this year. Another elder Millennial emo tour. 🙂
Things I ate
I already mentioned my favorite meal of the year, Don Angie, but we also grabbed plenty of bagels, boba tea, and Joe’s Pizza while in New York. I am a firm believer that bagels truly are better in the city. In Denver, we loved dinner at Culinary Dropout. I’m thrilled to have a location near us in Charlotte, NC.
At home I’ve been having fun incorporating more vegetarian dishes into our menu. Here are two meals we really enjoyed this summer: spicy marinara pasta and crispy brussels sprout “Caesar” salad.
What I watched
We sped through two season of “The Bear“ this summer and couldn’t get enough! It’s probably the most stress-inducing television show I’ve ever watched, but I loved it. It has a 99% on Rotten Tomatoes for a reason.
On the horizon
Per usual, I’m very late writing this update so I already know a lot of what’s happening in the fall. At the end of summer, I was looking forward to a small trip to Nashville and a huge trip to Italy, Greece, and Croatia.